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Caps calling on defense this time

Just minutes after the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the cross-river rival Devils, Henrik Lundqvist offered a glimpse into the psyche of a team whose fate would be determined by others.

Just minutes after the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the cross-river rival Devils, Henrik Lundqvist offered a glimpse into the psyche of a team whose fate would be determined by others.

“I think last year was really tough. This year, it feels like we have been consistent the whole year,” the netminder said, referring to a shootout loss on the final day of the 2010 regular season. “It is hard to be satisfied or disappointed right now. If we are in, I think it is a great year. If not, you cannot be happy about the year. We will see.”

What they saw Saturday night was a Hurricanes’ loss, sending the Blueshirts to the postseason for the fifth time in six years. It set up a matchup with top-seeded Washington, which sent the Rangers packing in their last playoff appearance two years ago. This Rangers team, though, outscored the Caps, 18-6, and won the regular season series 3-1.

Both teams implemented new styles of play this season. The Rangers applied a physical, grinding game, while Washington employed a defensive system in an attempt to better prepare for playoff hockey. Washington allowed 191 goals, fourth-fewest in the NHL.

 
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